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Col Polhill explains how to defeat the world champion.

Call me an old romantic if you like, but I've always had a special fondness for the King's Gambit. Today's game is a magnificent specimen.

White: David Bronstein

Black: Mikhail Tal

Riga 1968.

1.e4 e5 2.f4

Unlike many gambiteers, I share Bronstein's view that the King's Gambit should be played in order to obtain a subtle endgame advantage..

2...d5 3.exd5 e4 4.d3 Nf6 5.dxe4 Nxe4 6.Nf3!

Boris Spassky used to tell me that Black's Bc5 should be forestalled by 6.Be3. He based his opinion on lines with 6...Qh4+ 7.g3 Nxg3 8.Nf3, but I never saw more than a draw after 8...Qe7!

6...Bc5 7.Qe2 Bf5!

Not falling for the trap of 7...Bf2+ 8.Kd1 Qxd5+ when 9.Nfd2! wins for White.


After 8.g4? 0-0! 9.gxf5 Re8 White's greed will be his downfall.

8...Qe7 9.Be3!

Introducing a superbly judged simplification.

9...Nxc3 10.Bxc5 Nxe2 11.Bxe7 Nxf4 12.Ba3!

White has a fine attack even if the queens have missed the best part of the game. Now 12...Nxd5 13.0-0-0 is far too precarious for Black.

12...Nd7 13.0-0-0 Be4

Spotting White's trap of 13...0-0-0 14.Rd4! Ng6 15.g4! Now 14.Re1 is a good move. Bronstein finds a better one.

14.Ng5! Bxd5 (see diagram) 15.g3!!

Not only offering an ex-change sacrifice, but forcing Black to take it!

15...Bxh1 16.gxf4 c5

Hoping to limit the influence of the bishop on a3.

17.Bc4 Bc6 18.Nxf7 b5

18...Rf8 19.Re1+ is fatal.

19.Nd6+! Ke7 20.Nxb5 Rhf8 21.Nd4!

Confirming that the cleric on a3 is still influential!

21...Bb7 22.Ne6! Rf5 23.Rg1!

Ready to meet 23...g6 with 24.Re1! when Black's king can no longer flee to the K-side via f6 and g6.

23...Be4 24.Nc7

In time-trouble, he forgot to play the stronger 24.Re1.

24...Rd8 25.Rxg7+ Kf6 26.Rf7+ Kg6 27.Re7 Nf6 28.Ne6 Rc8 29.b3 Rh5 30.Ng5 Bd5 31.Bd3+ Kh6 32.Bb2 c4 33.Bf5 and White wins: 33...Rf8 (or Rc6) loses to 34.Bxf6 Rxf6 35.Rxh7 mate.